Fraser Franks says he has a ‘good feeling about this stage of the season’ after Newport County AFC got their play-off ambitions back on track with a dominant 4-1 victory at Notts County.
Franks was the only alteration to the side in Nottingham compared to the one elected against Man City on Saturday and he made an immediate impact with the opener after nine minutes.
Notts County attacker Kane Hemmings equalised with a looping header 59 seconds later, but from there it became the Jamille Matt show as he scored twice – including an exquisite bicycle kick – before setting up Padraig Amond for County’s fourth.
The victory saw the Exiles close the gap on the top-seven to just the six points with a game in hand, and with matches against five of those sides coming up imminently, Franks says it’s still all to play for in the remaining 14 fixtures.
Here, you can read exclusively what the defender told iFollow Exiles following the conclusion of the game…
On a comfortable victory over strugglers Notts County…
"This was a big test, we had to get ourselves back down to earth in League Two from the highs of Manchester City on Saturday.
"It’s tough physically from what the boys did on the weekend and it’s tough mentally going from a game with a big crowd, massive audience, then to what you have to do week in week out and I thought it was a real professional performance from everyone.
"I think we need to get a bit of consistency going into this last stage of the season, this is the business end where it doesn’t really matter how you play, you just have to come to places like this and get wins.
"We’re confident that if we can go on a little run then we can still challenge for the play-offs.
"I thought we were clinical. Jamma was outstanding, bullied their defenders, scored his two goals and set up Podge for that goal as well. Those two have been clinical for us and when we scored the fourth, I think we took the sting out of the game.
"They had a bit of possession after that but I don’t think they created too much and it was comfortable in the end."
On his third goal of the campaign and overall performance…
"I’m pleased because I do like to pop up with a few goals and I seem to score quite a few against Notts County actually.
"It’s a strange one, it’s been a tough month being inured and missing out on some of the big games, I was in the side-lines for the Middlesbrough game, came back against MK Dons perhaps a little too early and I still don’t feel like myself 100% yet.
"I think it’ll take me a few more training sessions and games to get back up to my usual standards so it’s a strange one for me because I’m still a little disappointed in my overall performance but that will come.
"As I say, it doesn’t really matter how we play as long as we get these points on the board at this stage of the season."
On Padraig Amond making it 20 for the campaign and Jamille Matt moving up to 17…
"It’s outstanding. They’ve been a key partnership this season and the amount of assists they’ve got for each other and the other boys in the team, I don’t think there’s a better partnership in the league at the minute.
"Jamma gets all types of goals but that was a nice one. To be honest though, I was more impressed with his assist, not seen him do that as much so it was a good one.
"Robbie Willmott has hit form at the right time and Jamma and Podge have been in-form all season in my opinion.
"If we can get people up to form, finish the season well, then you never know what could happen."
On heading to fellow play-off contenders MK Dons on Saturday…
"The game against them at Rodney Parade is still one I’m scratching my head over how we didn’t win what with the amount of chances we had.
"That’s probably the difference in this game – we probably had more chances against Milton Keynes, but we ended up scoring none yet four against Notts County because we were clinical.
"It’s about being more clinical and just about picking up ugly points at this time of the season. The pitches are starting to cut up, so you just need people to step up and this is where some of the experienced heads come in and I’ve got a good feeling about this stage of the season.
"I’ve played there [Stadium MK] a few times before and it is sort of a strange atmosphere but it’ll be a good pitch and a game we’re looking forward to.
"We’ve started the week well here, got that elusive away victory which we’ve been looking for and we’ve been due a big one as well – you never know, goal difference could come in to it. The more wins like this the better."
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